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What’s the True Value of a Listing Agent?

Here’s how a quality listing agent can maximize—or save—your sale.

As we close in on spring, our seller’s market is hotter than ever. If you’re one of the countless sellers looking to maximize your home sale in 2021, then today’s video is a must watch. I’m diving deep into the value that an agent on the selling side should be bringing you when listing your home on the market.   


When all the leverage is tilted in sellers’ favor, many people assume that selling their home will be easier than ever—so easy, that they won’t have any need for a listing agent. Wow, they couldn’t be more wrong! An experienced listing agent helps you double down on your strong position and maximize your bottom line. They’re also your best hedge against a low appraisal.    


Cited below for your convenience are timestamps that will direct you to various points in the video. Feel free to watch the full message or use these timestamps to skip to topics that interest you most:   


1:25 — Prepping, repairs, staging, and the beauty of the “coming soon” phase   

2:45 — A skilled listing agent should help you drive the price up and get the best terms possible  

3:25 — What happens when the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price?  

5:29 — How I jumped in to save a deal after a buyer’s agent botched an appraisal rebuttal   

6:52 — Being able to bring families joy is why I do what I do   

7:17 — Wrapping up today’s topic   


As always, feel free to reach out if you have more questions about this or any other real estate topic. I’m happy to be a resource for you and assist with whatever buying, selling, or investing needs you may have. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Can You Benefit From This Program?

I have a great new home-buying program to introduce you to.

I’d like to introduce you to a home-buying program not a lot of people know about but is great for anyone with the following issue(s):


  • You don’t have enough money for a down payment for the loan you’re seeking
  • You just changed jobs (or perhaps you’re self-employed and don’t have the traditional two years’ worth of income statements most lenders require)
  • Your FICO score isn’t where you’d like it to be
  • You need to sell your current home before buying


If this describes your situation, this program is for you. There are a couple of companies we partner with in offering this program, and here are the steps involved in using it:


  1. Apply. It doesn’t take long to apply, and the turnaround time for processing your application is only a day or two. You’re notified of your budget. This will tell you how expensive of a home you’re allowed to buy. This budget covers all fees involved in the purchase, including HOA dues, taxes, insurance, etc.
“With this program, you can secure the house you want and buy it in your own time frame.”
  1.  It’s time to shop. You give us a call and we go to work helping you find your dream home.
  2. The home is bought and paid for in cash.
  3. You rent the home until you’re prepared to purchase it.
  4. Your three-year time frame is established. If you buy the house within 18 months, you buy it at a set price and get to keep any appreciation and equity. If you buy the house anytime after 18 months, you buy at a slightly higher price, but you still get to keep any appreciation above that number.


There are a few requirements you need to know about to apply for this program. First, you need to be able to afford a 1% to 2% down payment. For example, if your prospective home is $500,000, you only need to come up with $5,000. Second, you need a FICO score of 550 or higher. Third, you need six months’ worth of income—that’s the minimum underwriting standard our partner companies need. With this program, you can secure the house you want and buy it in your own time frame.

If you or anyone you know would like to take advantage of this offer, call or email me today. If you have any other real estate questions, feel free to reach out to me as well. I’d love to speak with you.

How Will Our Phoenix Market Close Out 2020?

Now is still a great time to both buy and sell in our real estate market.

2020 has been a wild year, to say the least, and it’s time for one last market snapshot before it ends. Before I get into the latest numbers, I want to thank all our clients, friends, and family for supporting the Kelly Cook Real Estate Group. Right now, there are about 10,000 active properties for sale in the Phoenix Metro area, and inventory stands at 1.4 months of supply. In other words, if no other homes came on the market, it would take 1.4 months to sell off all available listings. The good news is that roughly 7,300 homes came on the market during November. The bad news is that 8,200 homes came off the market, which means supply and demand continue to be pinched. The average days on market, meanwhile, is 38 days.
“With interest rates and supply this low, I predict a robust Arizona housing market in 2021.”
If you’re a seller, it’s a no-brainer that now is the time to sell. In the week leading up to the recording of this video, we sold four homes—each of which attracted multiple offers and sold for over asking price. Conditions may yet improve for sellers, but waiting to sell would mean trying to time the market. If you’re a buyer, you may remember that last month we talked about the three main reasons why now is still a good time to buy. To reiterate, interest rates are low, which means your buying power is high. With interest rates and supply this low, I predict a robust Arizona housing market in 2021. If you have any questions or are ready to buy or sell a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and happy holidays. We’ll see you in 2021!

Is Right Now a Good Time to Buy a Home?

Here are three things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a home.

Is right now a good time to buy a home? There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in this question, but I always like to look at the facts, break them down, and use them to make an informed decision. Here are some things to consider if you’ve been waffling over this question:

1. Your exit strategy. If you’re looking to buy a house soon, what’s your exit strategy? If you have no foreseeable plans to move out of that home for the next several years, your plan matters. Markets cycle up and down, so even if you did buy now and the market were to correct, it will still come back up, meaning you’re not forced to sell at a certain time. That way, you can sell when the market cycles up. Right now, we are on one of those up-cycles, but because of several other factors, that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to buy.

2. The local market conditions. Right now, the U.S. unemployment rate hovers around 8%. Conversely, the unemployment rate in Maricopa County is only 5.9%, which is much healthier than the national average. Here, there’s job growth, corporate tax cuts, and a lot of big companies coming into the area. More than just your county, you also need to look at what’s going on in your specific city and perhaps neighborhood. It could be that the house you’re selling has a lot of demand with very little supply, causing you to max out your purchase price, but the one you’re looking to buy doesn’t have as much demand with a decent amount of supply, meaning you can get a good deal.

“I always like to look at the facts, break them down, and use them to make an informed decision.”

3. The affordability index. Right now, the index says that across the country homeowners had equity appreciation of 6.6% in the second quarter alone. Granted, it went down when COVID hit, but it bounced right back up. Again, be sure to look at your local market. Year over year in Arizona, we have an appreciation rate of about 16%, which is amazing.

Without question, now is a good time to sell across the board. If you’re looking to buy, it’s still a reasonably good time. Given the local economic conditions, that’s probably not going to change any time soon. Soon, snowbirds will begin traveling down here to purchase, and the weather will be perfect.

If you have any other questions about buying homes or other real estate topics, please reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you.

Case Study: Scottsdale Short Sale


The owner of this Scottsdale home had two liens against the property. In order to prevent her going into foreclosure, we had to get the two lien holders to agree to this short sale. What happened in this case, was VERY RARE. Through consistent communication, negotiation and diligence with the two lien holders and buyer’s agent, we were able to get the first lien holder to agree to a buyer’s contribution to the SECOND lien holder, in the amount of $49,950…and we were able to negotiate the buyer to pay for the $49,950 on behalf of the seller to make the deal happen!!! It is EXTREMLY RARE that the first lien holder allowed this to transpire, but our contacts, reputation, and persistence helped get this done. We were able to relieve our seller from having to contribute any amount of money from her pocket to get this done!

  1. First Loan had a balance of $916,907
  2. Second Loan had a balance of $335,000


Please see the bellow SHORT SALE APPROVAL LETTERS proving the details of our successful negotiations on this short sale. We were able to get full debt relief for our client (seller) protecting him from ever being pursued for the difference the banks settled on. Because the loan balance was so high, the second lien holder did require a contribution from the seller. However, we were able to negotiate the buyer contributing this balance and were able to get the first lien holder to approve this!


Our client, the seller was able to walk away from $1,251,907 of mortgage debt! And… with no fees paid for out of her pocket either! I know it sounds too good to be true but it’s not, we can do this for you as well. All because she decided to pick up the phone and contact Kelly Cook and the Kelly Cook Real Estate Group. We have many other examples just like this we would love to share with you as well. We truly are short sale specialists working the entire Greater Phoenix, AZ area and would love to speak with you today about your current situation and how we can help! Call today!

How Are We Celebrating Our Clients This Year AND Giving Back to Our Local Community?

Instead of our typical client event, we’re hosting something a little different.

Normally, our client events and parties are a simple way to give back and say thanks to all of you. We always cherish the time we get to spend with all of you in person, but because of COVID, it’s been a little difficult to plan one for this year.

So we came up with the idea for a giveaway, and it’s very easy to enter. All you have to do is pick up the phone on Wednesday, October 21, and give us a call at 888-KCRG-11 (888-527-3411) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. You’ll be automatically entered into our drawing for the chance to win the Green Egg Mini Max mobile smoker. It’s portable, great for tailgating or parties, and it makes delicious food.

With the holidays around the corner, we also want to give back to the local community. For each and every call we receive during the event, I will personally donate $5 to the St. Mary’s Food Bank on your behalf. The more people who call and enter, the more we're helping the community and the better chance you have of winning the prize.

Want multiple entries? All you need to do is head to our Facebook page and “like” it for a second entry. If you take it a step further and share our post to your personal Facebook page, you get a third entry. If you refer us to someone who is looking to buy or sell a home right now, you’ll get yet another entry. Each referral after that will result in an additional entry.

"The more people who call and enter, the more we're helping the community."

On October 22, we’ll do the drawing and announce the winner, so stay tuned for that. If you have questions for us about the giveaway or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Which Closing Costs Must Arizona Buyers Pay?

These are the closing costs for which all Arizona buyers should prepare.

Which closing costs are you responsible for when purchasing property in Arizona? There are a lot of misconceptions about this topic, so today I’ll list the four costs you should prepare for and explain how each varies depending on your situation. Cited below for your convenience are timestamps that will direct you to various points in the video. Feel free to watch it in its entirety, or use these timestamps to browse specific points at your leisure: 0:53—Inspection fees 1:41—Appraisal fee 2:23—Lender fees 3:37—Title fees 5:03—How your down payment differs from the closing costs 5:41—How closing costs can be negotiated 6:24—Wrapping things up As always, if you have questions about this or any real estate topic or are thinking of buying or selling a home soon, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m happy to help.

What’s the Latest News From the Federal and State Economy?

Here’s an update on the economy from the federal level down to the state level.

Most of the benefits of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package that Congress passed earlier this year in response to COVID have now expired. Congress is now adjourned and they’re potentially going to negotiate a new package, but in the meantime, four executive orders were recently signed that you should be aware of. Here is what they entail and how they’ll affect you:

1. Unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits went from $600 a week down to zero as the funds expired. Now they may go back up to $400 a week based on what state you live in until something more concrete is passed by Congress.

2. Evictions. There is a moratorium on evictions in some states based on certain metrics that you would have to check with the HHS Department and the CDC to learn more about.

3. Postponed student loans. The delay in payments was set to go through September 30, but a three-month extension has been authorized. So if you have student loan debt, your first payment won’t be due until January 2021.

4. Payroll taxes. If you make less than $104,000 per year, you’re eligible to suspend or defer payroll tax on your paycheck through sometime next year.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 3.8 million homeowners in America are currently in mortgage forbearance. The numbers here in Arizona have begun to plateau, but on a national level, that is a huge number. If you know of anyone who has been furloughed or is otherwise experiencing financial difficulties and would like to know what their options are, we’d be happy to help.

"The Arizona market will likely continue to be one of the strongest housing markets in the country."

There is some good news on the state level, however. The market is on fire right now; supply is very low and demand is sky-high thanks to people moving here from states like California. Here are some of the stats from our Arizona market:

1. Appreciation. The annual appreciation for 2020 is 12.8%, which is huge when you compare it to 2005, when the market went up extremely fast—the annual appreciation then was 26% (before the market came crashing down).

2. Affordability. If you’re a family making the median income in Arizona ($72,300), you should be able to afford about 60% to 75% of what is still selling in our market today.

3. ,Monthly payments. For the average homeowner in 2020, the average monthly payment is 30% lower than it was in July of 2006.

All in all, affordability is very good right now. We don’t currently have much of a bubble, but we’re not sure how long these trends can continue. At any rate, the Arizona market is very strong at the moment. I would argue that because of our increase in demand from the population influx and job growth, we’ll likely continue to be one of the strongest housing markets in the country.

If you have any questions about the market or need assistance with buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you.